Fullerton police victim suffered brain injuries, father says
The father of Kelly Thomas, the homeless man who died after an altercation with Fullerton police last month, has revealed new details Monday about his son’s injuries.
Ron Thomas said that MRI and X-ray results from the hospital that treated his son after the incident showed he had two forms of severe brain injury, one caused by a lack of oxygen and the other by blunt force trauma.
Bones in his son’s face had also been broken, said the father, who had already released a photo of his son's bloody, swollen, barely recognizable face.
Thomas, 37, died several days after he was confronted by six Fullerton officers at the local bus depot last month. As they tried to search the schizophrenic homeless man, a violent altercation ensued that left him in a coma.
Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas on Monday said he'd seen no evidence so far suggesting that Fullerton officers intentionally tried to kill Thomas but said his office is still trying to determine whether excessive force was used.
Rackauckas, speaking for the first time about the fatal incident, said the investigation is in its early stages and his office has yet to get a determination from the coroner’s office on Thomas’ cause of death.
“As far as intentional killing — whether an officer intended to kill him ... I have not seen any evidence of that in this case,” Rackauckas said.
Rackauckas said he had made the investigation a priority for his prosecutors and investigators and was devoting extensive resources to the case. “I am reviewing everything that is being done,” he said.
The top prosecutor said he had seen a security videotape of the incident, which officials have refused to make public. Rackauckas said he cannot discuss the content.
“It is a tragedy this happened,” said Rackauckas when asked to characterize the video. “My heart goes out to Mr. Thomas and (his) family members.”
-- Richard Winton and Abby Sewell
Photo: A crowd gathers in front of the Fullerton police station Sunday to protest the death of Kelly Thomas, a homeless man who died after an altercation with several officers. Credit: Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times